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Into Thin Air

A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Written by: Jon Krakauer
Narrated by: Jon Krakauer
Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Travel
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in 57 hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, 20 other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds. Six hours later and 3,000 feet lower, in 70-knot winds and blinding snow, Krakauer collapsed in his tent, freezing, hallucinating from exhaustion and hypoxia, but safe. The following morning, he learned that six of his fellow climbers hadn't made it back to their camp and were desperately struggling for their lives. When the storm finally passed, five of them would be dead, and the sixth so horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated.

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the best seller Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside magazine to report on the growing commercialization of the mountain, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world. A rangy, 35-year-old New Zealander, Hall had summited Everest four times between 1990 and 1995 and had led 39 climbers to the top. Ascending the mountain in close proximity to Hall's team was a guided expedition led by Scott Fischer, a 40-year-old American with legendary strength and drive who had climbed the peak without supplemental oxygen in 1994. But neither Hall nor Fischer survived the rogue storm that struck in May 1996.

Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people - including himself - to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer's eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

©1997 Jon Krakauer (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

What the critics say

  • Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award Winner, Best Audio of 1998, Best of the Best
    Alex Award Winner, 1998

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • JW
  • 2019-06-15

Well written

Makes you feel that you've been there with him. Must have been a terrifying and traumatic experience. Hope everyone involved can find healing.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent account and read powerfully by author

a harrowing tale of catastrophe on Everest. always a pleasure to hear books read by their authors-- this is certainly the case in this book.

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  • Zina
  • 2015-03-23

Awesome!

This being my first audio book, I'm impress of how well the author captured his experience. I was moved by his narration and felt as if I was on the journey along side them. Great book so worth listening!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Huff
  • 2018-03-04

Favorite book!

I don’t climb mountains, I don’t want to climb mountains, but I love this book!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 2006-05-12

into thin air

In the 4 years I have been enjoying audible books, I have never felt compelled to write a review until now. This is the most amazing story. Krakauer is modest but obviously heroic. He seems to truly regret his faults in the events while not overplaying his courage and stamina in saving several lives. Usually authors' narrations are not as good as the pros, but he does a great job. You can feel the emotion. For me it was like reading LOTR for the first time.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Jack
  • 2019-03-03

MUST READ

Absolutely. 100%. Amazing!
I listened to it twice and then when on a binge of YouTube videos of mountaineering talks because I really couldn't think about anything else for months after finishing.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Laura Powell
  • 2018-01-04

Real

The narrator was excellent and frank
My heart goes out to the author. I'm glad he wrote this.

4 people found this helpful

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  • M. Thompson
  • 2016-08-26

if you are fascinated by mountaineering, this is

you couldn't pay me to climb Everest or K2, but I am completely fascinated with reading about them.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Katrina McClary
  • 2017-01-25

spectacular

written like a storm rolling in .. (spoiler alert). i actually could't put it down

3 people found this helpful

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  • monica wolfson
  • 2016-04-02

Fantastic very honest

Gripping - must listen to - sad tale of all going wrong. Moving . Loved it. Highly recommended and loved Jon's reading of his own story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alyssa
  • 2020-01-31

ABRIDGED VERSION

I really enjoyed this story and I am a fan of Jon Krakauer. However, I was really disappointed that when I reached the end of the audiobook, then and only then was it announced "Thank you for listening to this abridged version of In Thin Air." It doesn't tell you that at the beginning of the book. Although it says it on the book's description page, you wouldn't see that if, like me, you just added the book to your cart from the search page. I assumed it was the original writing since I saw it was narrated by Krakauer himself and so I figured it was the full audiobook... I think if they are going to have very different versions of this book, they should disclose that when people order the book without going into all the details.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Redwood
  • 2019-03-06

Engaging Listen

I have only listened to a few audiobooks before and the narrator can really make or break an audiobook. Here we have the great joy of both engaging material and an engaging narrator (the author himself). I decided to consume more audiobooks because I just don't have as much time to read, but I did spend loads of time each day sitting a car so I figured audiobooks were the next best thing. I otherwise cannot listen to audiobooks without getting distracted by some visual stimulation. This did not occur with this audiobook. I was engrossed and unable to break from listening. I went from turning the car off to plugging in earbuds to continue listening. Even at the gym when I would typically listen to heart thumping music, I continued listening to the book. I was engrossed. Yes, I know there are some conflicts with his account, however if you read this as not a journalistic accounting of events, but one perspective of an experience, you will enjoy this book. It is well written and well spoken. It is worthy of a listen.

1 person found this helpful